The White House is reportedly considering domestic travel restrictions including in Florida, as variant cases of the coronavirus surge in the Sunshine State, while Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing back against any possible restrictions, calling them "absurd."
Officials with the Biden Administration said they are having conversations about anything that could help mitigate spread, including Florida travel restrictions, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.
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In a statement, the CDC said they are "reviewing options" to help control the spread of the virus.
“As part of our close monitoring of the pandemic and in particular the emerging variants, we will continue to review public health options for containing and mitigating spread of the virus," the CDC statement read. "CDC will also continue to work across government on recommendations for the travel space, and no decisions have been made."
Speaking at a news conference Thursday morning, DeSantis said any such restriction would be a political attack.
"I think it's an absurd report that they would be doing that, I think it would be unconstitutional, it would be unwise and it would be unjust," DeSantis said. "Any attempt to restrict or lock down Florida by the federal government would be an attack on our state done purely for political purposes."
DeSantis pointed to figures that showed Florida's Covid cases had been trending downward, saying the state was 28th in the U.S. for cases per capita dating back to December. The governor didn't specifically mention the variant cases.
"If you think about it, restricting the right of Americans to travel freely throughout our country while allowing illegal aliens to pour across the southern border unmolested would be a ridiculous but very damaging farce," DeSantis said. "So we will oppose it 100%. It would not be based in science, it would purely be a political attack against the people of Florida."
A White House spokesperson said Thursday that no specific decisions were under consideration.
"To be clear, there have been no decisions made around additional public health measures for domestic travel safety. The administration is continuing to discuss recommendations across the travel space," the spokesperson said.
The possibility of a national protocol implementing domestic travel restrictions was also discussed vaguely by United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on HBO’s Axios.
“What do you think of COVID tests before domestic travel ? There’s an active conversation with the CDC - will be guided by science data and by people who will carry it out,” he said.
Officials at Miami International Airport said they haven't received any new instructions or directions from the federal government.
The possibility of testing requirements before boarding domestic flights doesn’t sit well with everyone.
“If I had to take a test to travel today I wouldn’t travel,” one traveler at Miami International Airport told NBC 6.
That’s not something the travel business wants to hear — especially after how hard it was hit during the pandemic.
Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday wrote a letter to President Biden amid the reports of travel restrictions.
“I write with regard to recent reporting that your administration is considering implementing travel restrictions to my home State of Florida. I cannot underscore enough how reckless and economically harmful this would be to my state and the country as a whole," Rubio wrote.